The purpose here is to spotlight a few lines or a few paragraphs from a new release or backlisted title. This way my readers get to sample some delicious snippets and I'll do my best to tease, titillate and tantalize you into the weekend.
This is the last week I'll be teasing from CHRISTMAS I.C.E. MAGIC. It's a Holiday Romance and paranormal as well. Next week we'll be on to something new. Zach is trying to find a way to draw Lily out and he's willing to give her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her story.
“I’m sorry your brother died. Why did you think you’d see him tonight?”
“I did see him tonight, and you chased him away with your determination to save me when I didn’t want to be saved.” A tear slid down one cheek and she hastily wiped it away.
He’d heard her talking to someone, but in the rush of getting her warmed up, he hadn’t sensed a ghost nearby. Zach settled his weight on the bed beside her and took her hand before he could think. She met his gaze with surprise, her eyes full of tears.
“Did your brother give you any advice when you saw him?”
“Why would you ask that?” Her eyes narrowed.
Zach shrugged. “I heard you talking to someone when I found you. I thought maybe he said something.”
She bit her lip and looked toward his bristlecone pine Christmas tree with the ice ornaments. “He said to get busy living and play in the snow because it’s Christmas.”
He’d said those words earlier that night and she’d blanched as if he’d slapped her. No wonder. Maybe he’d heard her brother after all. “Sounds like your brother knew what he was talking about. The good news is I’m here and I can help you. You won’t be alone. At least, not tonight.”
More tears streamed from her eyes as they widened and she shook her head a little.
“What?” Aw, shit, now what did I do?
“Linus said…” She completely dissolved into sobs as the grief poured out of her. “He said…”
Holy Freya, he couldn’t stand to watch her cry, even when he suspected she needed it more than she needed anything. “Aw, princess, shhhh. Don’t cry.”
Zach lifted Lily just enough to slide in behind her and wrap his arms around her. He pulled her back against his chest and let her wail out her grief. The scents of lilies and Irish cream hit his nose again and he delighted in them as he laid his cheek against her silken hair.
He held her as she cried, rocking her and mumbling soft nonsense. Every moment he cradled her dragged him deeper into her scent and tore a little more of his professional façade away. Lily’s wracking sobs ripped at his heart and fostered the need to make her pain stop in any way he could.
“Shh, it’s all right. I’m here. I’ve got you.”
“He left me…Didn’t get to say goodbye…I’m so alone.” The words shuddered out of her on breaks between breaths, and her tears soaked his shoulder.
“I’m here, princess. I’m not going anywhere.” Zach tightened his arms and kissed her hair, enjoying her heat. So lovely and strong and full of life, yet so fragile from sorrow, and ready to throw it all away. He wanted to wrap himself around her and protect her from the pain.
Zach closed his eyes and rocked her, losing himself in the simple contact. Eventually her sobs quieted and she rested bonelessly against his chest. Her breathing evened out and he tipped his head to decide if she’d fallen asleep.
Not a bad idea considering how close she came to dying tonight.
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